Techniques to catch King Threadfin

Techniques to Catch King Threadfin

King Threadfin Salmon is the larger of the 2 Threadfin Salmon varieties found in tropical and Sub tropical Australian waters.

They are a much sought after sportsfish by anglers especially those who have mastered the art of catching barra. If you want to move on to the next challenge, King Threadfin are the fo.

King Threadfin can do some strange things at times and often many anglers find it hard to catch them with consistency.

Accordingly, this blog will focus on some techniques to catch King Threadfin including my favourite lures.

We also have a cheat sheet download of what they look like on your sounder down the bottom of the page.

Large King Threadfin can be a challenge to catch as they are a complex species. I guess that’s why they are the next step up from barra.


Average size King Threadfin from the deep holes of Hinchinbrook.

Average size King Threadfin from the deep holes off Hinchinbrook.


Best of both worlds... King Threadfin change sex!

An interesting fact about Threadfin is that they are hermaphrodites just like Barramundi.

Like Barra they are all born male and change sex at various lengths depending on geographic location.

East coast threadfin are reported to have to reach almost 120 cm before they become sexually mature. Yet in northern WA they can reach sexual maturing as small as 90 cm.

Regardless, having to achieve such large sizes to reach maturity means the species has to endure a lot of pressure from netters. And to a lesser degree fishing tourism, before they can make the breeding size.

In fact in areas of very heavy pressure they have been fished to nearly extinction for that region.

The reason for this is that they are known to be endemic to each region. Barramundi have been known to move up and down the coast many hundreds of kilometres especially in their younger years. Whereas threddys will hang in the same region where they we born.

King Threadfin stocks in decline.

When I was younger just starting my fishing career, the Bohle River and southern Halifax Bay was a King Threadfin mecca.

You could practically walk over the back of them in the shallows at certain times. They were littered with endless schools feeding on the flats and they were a common capture. In the last 15-20 years since gill netters moved in, stocks in these areas have been decimated. It's now much harder to catch Kind Threadfin and catches of large threadfin are now rare.

Because they are not transient it takes forever for stocks to recover. Perhaps they never will.

Threadfin like to forage

King Threadfin have a transparent fatty tissue or gel that covers their eyes. This helps protect their eyes when foraging rough or structured areas.

They also have a set of long filaments protruding from the pectoral fin area which in fact give the threadfin its name. They use these filaments to feel for crabs and shrimp in the rough bottoms.  Their massive tail is designed for speed when crashing through herring and sometimes mullet schools.

So they are in fact a fish that forages as well as feeds predatory too. So it pays to remember this when choosing techniques to catch King Threadfin Salmon.


Catching King Threadfin

King Threadfin such as this stonker readily take vibes.


They are found only in Northern Australian waters and southern Papau, and their boundary in Australia extends from Exmouth in the west right around the top and down to Brisbane on the east coast.

However their smaller cousins the Blue Salmon are found all throughout southeast asia, India and into the Persian gulf.

Techniques to catch King Threadfin includes soft plastics and vibes.

Threadfin are a very avid lure taker.

The introduction of soft plastics and vibes in the last decade has been one of the most popular techniques ever developed for the species, but it only works at certain times.

Getting to know this species inside out can take many seasons on the water. Anglers in recent fisheries such as Brisbane and the southeast QLD in general will find it tough for some time yet to nut out what they do.

Especially when they go off the bite or are not showing on the sounder in traditional areas where they have caught them before.

Get our Threadfin Cheat Sheet

Sideview and traditional screenshots taken from Brisbane River, Fitzroy River in Rockhampton and Hinchinbrook channel shows you watch to look for.

Click here to get the cheat sheet. 


Catching King Threadfin with hard vibes

King Threadfin readily take soft plastics and also love hard vibes like this Balista Juggernaut

They are without doubt one of my favourite species and I have enjoyed catching them consistently for 25 years.

All my techniques to catch Threadfin Salmon are available in our online fishing course Threadfin Tactics” which includes a Brisbane River Bonus


For some spectacular Threadfin fishing action, including some in the Brisbane River, check out this short video.



Favourite lures for Threadfin Salmon

Soft Plastics

As mentioned before Threadfin Salmon are a great soft lure taker.

One of my favourite vibes are the Quickcatch varieties. They are a good value for money product and can take a bit of a beating.

However there are many vibes on the market that work. Sometimes a certain colour works better than others on a particular day.

You can increase your success by trying to copy the colour of the vibe that's getting all the bites. Regardless if it’s a different brand. I also find the 95 mm ones to be more productive.

Hard Vibes

I have also had some really great success on hard plastic vibes and my go to lures here are the Balista Juggernauts.

Both the 65 and 90 mm sizes work well and the water activated light works a treat when fishing deeper for them.

I can remember some sessions where they would show very little attention to soft vibes but climbed all over the Juggernauts. Even when the going colour was copied.

A lot to be said about the water activated light grabbing their attention in the depths. Hard metal vibes are another lure that works fairly well when used in deeper water applications.

Casting Hardbodies

When Threadfin do the opposite and invade the shallows my new favourite go to lure is the Old Dog lures Guttermaster 100.

Its been a great fishing catcher and many threddys have now been caught while casting in areas where we are targeting barra.

There are other varieties of small shallow diving hard bodies but when you find a real fish catcher stick to it.

Soft prawn lures can also work well in the shallows especially when they are feeding on jelly prawn such as the Zerek shrimps.

If interpreting your sounder is not your strong point and have trouble identifying what a threadfin looks like on your marine electronics, our Threadfin Sounder Shots cheat sheet will help.

Click the button below to get started - it's free and includes side scan and traditional shots of threadfin in Brisbane, Rockhampton and Hinchinbrook.

Stop scratching your head and start catching fish in less time using my knowledge.

get the free pdf









And if you'd like still more free fishing tips plus a chance to get in the draw for a charter with Ryan, simply enter your name and email below.


About The Author

Ryan Moody

Ryan Moody started his fishing career on the reef boats before catching bucket list marlin for the likes of champion heavy tackle angler Johnno Johnson, INXS and the King of Sweden. Branching out in the late 80's to guided barramundi fishing, Ryan has made a name for himself as a Big Barramundi specialist and to date has put clients onto over 2000 metre plus barra. That is over 2 kilometres of metre plus barra! With attitudes changing from 'keep all you can' towards catch and release, Ryan has decided to share his extensive knowledge and hopefully inspire people of all ages to get out from behind the computer screen/TV and into the fishing outdoors lifestyle he has spent his life perfecting.

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